Every year, over 2 million Americans report having been a victim of workplace violence.
Workplace violence is a real threat facing workers. Employers are expected to take reasonable measures to prevent employees from becoming victims of violence. Failure to do so may invite OSHA citations.
Violation of Safety Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined an employer $7,000 for their failure to protect a worker from an armed robbery at the workplace. The case stated that the employee, who was on the job at a gas station, was alone and did not have sufficient protection against violence. The employee was shot in the leg during an armed robbery.
OSHA imposed a penalty on the employer on the premise of having inadequate safety measures against the threat of violence at the workplace. The employer failed to set up proper safeguards that could have prevented the worker from sustaining an injury.
Workplace Violence and OSHA Regulations
Though OSHA regulations do not address an employer’s obligation to protect staff from workplace violence, they do require that employers enforce adequate safety measures for employees against workplace violations. The case mentioned above is an example where the employer failed to provide proper safeguards against workplace violence. According to the report, workers were exposed to workplace violence in a work environment where the probability of workplace injury due to violence was clearly recognizable, as was the employee’s susceptibility to physical assault while on the job.
Protecting Employees from Workplace Violence
In view of this case, OSHA set forth recommendations for employers to limit the exposure of violence and the possibility of injury.
- Providing panic buttons at the workplace to alert local authorities of robberies and threats of violence.
- Providing physical barriers, such as bullet-proof enclosures, to protect employees in case of shooting or installing drive-through booths for staff working alone at night.
- Installing security cameras and posting signs alerting potential offenders of security measures taken.
- Ensuring limited cash transactions for customers and time-lock safes that the staff cannot open.
Workers’ Compensation Laws for Injured Employees
If you have suffered a work-related injury or accident, you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits include: